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Trump Will Decertify Iran Nuclear Deal, Kicking it Back to Congress

Trump Will Decertify Iran Nuclear Deal, Kicking it Back to Congress

“Our strategy is to make sure that Iran never, and I mean never, acquires a nuclear weapon”

President Trump spoke at 12:45 EDT to discuss his plans for the Obama-crafted Iran nuclear deal.

Trump didn’t scrap the deal, but decertified it, effectively kicking the deal to Congress.

Watch his speech here:

Netanyahu praises Trump’s speech:

From the speech:

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Congress is where a deal like this belongs.

For a “Constitutional scholar”, Obama sure did run afoul of the Constitution a lot.

The cynic in me thinks that the Marxist asshat only learned about it for the sole purpose of figuring out how to tear it down.

    tom_swift in reply to Paul. | October 13, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    Congress is where a deal like this belongs.

    Actually, no. Arranging agreements with foreign powers is left to the Executive. That function is one of the major reasons why the Constitution set up an Executive in the first place. Somebody realized that Congress would never be able to do such things in any realistic time frame.

    Agreements with foreign powers are treaties. There are thousands of them; they crop up all the time. For the US to build warships in shipyards on the Great Lakes during WW2, the US and Canada needed a treaty. And they needed it because of an earlier treaty, dating back to the War of 1812, demilitarizing the Lakes. Treaties are routine stuff. The Executive makes the agreements, the Senate commits the country to the agreement. That’s how it’s been done for centuries, but it’s not quite the way the Constitution said it should be done. The Constitution envisioned the Senate having something to say about the negotiations as well as the final agreement. The President was supposed to handle treaty negotiations with the “advice and consent” of the Senate. However, George Washington noticed by the middle of his first term that anything he told the Senate was in the newspapers the next day. The great powers of Europe expected negotiations to be conducted in confidence; so if Washington was going to conduct any successful negotiations, he realized that he was going to have to freeze the Senate out of them, no matter what the Constitution said. Well, so much for the “advice”. But that didn’t affect the “consent” part. So the requirement for Senate ratification was unaffected; it’s not a binding treaty—that is, not a real agreement between two concurring parties—until the Senate ratifies. That caused quite a bit of delay sometimes, to the point that major battles were fought while the unratified copies of treaties were on the slowboat in mid-Atlantic, but that didn’t matter, the treaties weren’t binding until ratified.

      My point was that the Senate needs to “advise and consent” which never happened on this deal. Getting the Senate involved is the right step in my view… it is part of getting our constitutional balance back in order.

      Milhouse in reply to tom_swift. | October 15, 2017 at 4:57 am

      Agreements with foreign powers are treaties.

      Your excellent summary left out one thing: informal “executive agreements” such as this one. It should be obvious that a president, like anyone else, has the inherent power to make private agreements with anyone he likes, foreign or domestic, to do things that are entirely within his power anyway. If he has the power to make some decision unilaterally, then he obviously has the power to promise a foreign government that he will do it in exchange for something they do. This is not a binding treaty between the USA and the foreign country, but a gentlemen’s agreement between the president and his foreign counterpart. It has no force of law, but if the president chooses to keep it he obviously can.

      The big drawback, obviously, is that the president can only promise to do things that are within his power. If he wants to promise something that he can’t just do on his own, then he has two choices: (1) He can ask a majority in both Houses of Congress to change the law and give him the power he seeks; or (2) he can ask 2/3 of the senate to consent to a treaty. Treaties are laws, exactly the same as statutes; there is no difference between a treaty signed by the president with the consent of 2/3 of the senate and a bill signed by the president after being passed by both houses. Which path the president chooses is entirely up to him, and depends on where he thinks he has the numbers. (There is one big difference between statutes and treaties: the president can abrogate treaties at will, but not statutes.)

      The statute that originally imposed th sanctions on Iran gave the president the power to suspend them whenever he liked. Therefore 0bama didn’t need anyone’s permission to agree with Iran to do that. The Corker/Menendez bill originally sought to take away that power; to pass this over the president’s veto would have required 2/3 in each house. The numbers weren’t there, but 0bama agreed to sign a law that put a 60-day hold on this power, starting from whenever he notified Congress of a deal, thus giving Congress time to try to pass a bill forbidding the deal. Obviously such a bill would also need 2/3 in each house to override his veto, and in the end the numbers weren’t there.

      The mistake that caused all this was made back when Congress originally passed the sanctions in the first place; if it hadn’t given the president unilateral power to suspend them he wouldn’t have been able to make this deal.

As noted before, leadership he ain’t got. Shank-tastic.

    Isn’t it better that Congress handle things like this, though, not the President? You know that I’m no huge Trump fan either, but I’m happy when I see him at least acknowledging that our Constitution exists – unlike Emperor O did.

    Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | October 13, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    He SHOULD have had the balls to decertify Iran and openly state he was walking away from the illegal deal that Barracula made.

    And, no. This was not on Congress to do. It started with POTUS, and it should have ended with POTUS.

    All he’s done is shank it.

      If it looks like a treaty, walks like a treaty and quacks like a treaty, ain’t it a treaty?

        rabidfox in reply to Paul. | October 13, 2017 at 1:38 pm

        You’d think, if it was ratified by the Senate, that it was a treaty. But the Iran deal was never submitted to the Senate, but Congress did give Obama unConstitutional power to create something that LOOKED like a treaty. I doubt that it would survive a SCOTUS challenge though

          Milhouse in reply to rabidfox. | October 15, 2017 at 5:05 am

          There was nothing unconstitutional about the power Congress gave the president, back when it imposed the sanctions, to suspend them whenever he thought fit, with or without an agreement with the mullahs to do so. Perhaps it was unwise, but it was certainly constitutional.

        Ragspierre in reply to Paul. | October 13, 2017 at 1:40 pm

        No. Absolutely NOT. It does NOT have ANY of the badges of a treaty.

        The treaty process was EXPRESSLY wired around by Barracula.

          Is it not a binding agreement between nations?

          I understand that Barry contorted himself in order to avoid submitting the deal to the Senate for approval, which he would have never attained.

          You’re right in that the Senate never approved it, therefore it is not legally a treaty under US law (as my non-lawyer brain understands it).

          But my point is that this is a binding agreement between nations and therefore was supposed to be approved by the Senate prior to taking effect. As he was so fond of doing, Obama just blew off the Constitution here.

          In my view decertifying and kicking it to the Senate is the right move. Either create a treaty by the Constitutional process or don’t.

          Milhouse in reply to Ragspierre. | October 15, 2017 at 5:02 am

          No, it is not a binding agreement between nations, and 0bama never claimed it was. It’s a non-binding agreement between governments. The 0bama government having expired, it was up to the Trump government whether to take it over or repudiate it. After repeatedly promising to do the latter, he did the former.

      VaGentleman in reply to Ragspierre. | October 14, 2017 at 3:37 am

      rags wrote:
      And, no. This was not on Congress to do. It started with POTUS, and it should have ended with POTUS.

      Well, NO! It started with potus, but it was enabled by congress. O-potus action would have died without the agreement of the senate. Had Trump simply walked away from it, they would have escaped responsibility for their role in the mess. And, for sure, would have criticized him for causing WW III, or something. He has just dumped the steaming bucket of effluent on the table and told them to clean it up. And he did it using the rules they set up. If you want to teach children responsibility, hold them accountable.

        Milhouse in reply to VaGentleman. | October 15, 2017 at 5:12 am

        it was enabled by congress. O-potus action would have died without the agreement of the senate.

        Wrong. The senate did not agree to it, but its agreement was unnecessary. It started and ended with 0bama, and Congress did nothing to enable it; all Congress did was make a nearly-successful attempt to block it. Failure to make that attempt would not have changed anything.

      Milhouse in reply to Ragspierre. | October 15, 2017 at 5:07 am

      He SHOULD have had the balls to decertify Iran and openly state he was walking away from the illegal deal that Barracula made.

      Agreed, except that the deal was not illegal, merely very unwise, and not binding on Trump.

This is about optics. Much like DACA and Obamacare, Congress will be given the opportunity to “do something”

When they fail, and they will, Trump will say that he will have to act. “See, I tried working with these guys but the couldn’t agree on the color of s#!t let alone come up with a plan.”

He’ll do what he wants, Congress rightfully takes the blame.

smalltownoklahoman | October 13, 2017 at 3:06 pm

Well, this needed to be done, the world certainly does not need another nuclear armed rogue regime! It would be a good idea to start reminding people to contact their senators and put plenty of pressure on them to not screw this up!

“Trump calls on Intel community to do a “thorough analysis” of whether Iran is assisting NK nuclear program”

Wrong question. Should read:”Trump calls on Intel community to do a “thorough analysis” of whether NK is assisting Iranian nuclear program”

Remember, the NORKS were supposed to be involved with the Syrian nuclear reactor.

Trump and Iran nuclear deal: Smart chess play could motivate the mullahs

President Trump’s decision not to certify that Iran is complying with the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal simply acknowledges reality. And if this causes the agreement to collapse, it will be a testament to the political weakness of its principal author. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal was erected on a foundation of sand. Former president Barack Obama had a weak hand with Congress and could not muster the domestic political capital to conclude a durable formal treaty with Iran. So, he cut corners.

Presumably if Trump wanted to bring the suspended sanctions back into force he could simply refuse to sign a waiver when that issue arises again in early 2018. Iran would view this, correctly, as the United States breaking the deal. However, by not certifying that Iran is in compliance, the Trump administration is suggesting that it is Iran that has abrogated the agreement, or at least cannot demonstrate that it is complying with it.
The international community is in the dark. The JCPOA has insufficient verification protocols, a shortcoming which was noted before the deal was signed. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) now admits that it cannot ensure that Tehran is not engaged in “activities which could contribute to the development of a nuclear explosive device.” It is barred from inspecting Iran’s military sites, where presumably this type of activity would be taking place, and Russia is resisting broadening the agency’s inspection authority. So, it would be reckless for the White House to routinely certify Iran’s compliance every four months when there is really no way to know for certain.
This is a prudent decision. Failing to certify Iran’s compliance with the agreement does not abrogate the JCPOA, nor does it automatically engage the “snapback” sanctions mechanisms that are part of the agreement itself. But it does give Congress the opportunity to initiate legislation that would reimpose sanctions on an expedited schedule, if it so chooses. And it may motivate Iran to give greater access to international inspectors before Congress takes action, or before the next deadline for Trump to issue sanctions waivers — or not.

Trump also drew attention to Iran’s destabilizing actions taken outside the purview of the JCPOA, such as Tehran’s ballistic missile program. The Islamic Republic has maintained publicly that its missiles are non-negotiable, but its diplomats have reportedly made behind-the-scenes overtures to discuss limits on the program. The White House is also concerned about Iran’s increasing support for terrorism and its activities in Syria, particularly as the civil war in that country draws U.S.-backed forces closer to open conflict with Iranian militias. Any of these issues could be the basis for new sanctions imposed wholly outside the nuclear deal’s framework.

Iran’s leaders can now take the steps necessary to satisfy the United States and international inspectors that they are meeting their obligations under the deal, or they can double-down on their belligerent rhetoric and face the rapid reimposition of some U.S. sanctions. Iran has previously threatened that if the U.S. made such a move it could restart its nuclear program “in a new manner that would shock Washington,” but that would activate the JCPOA’s Article 37 “snap back” mechanism and bring back all international sanctions automatically. Not to mention raise the risk of counter-proliferation military strikes.

While I am even less hopeful than the author that the mullahs will change, Trump’s move, combined with the new US posture at the UN and the changing and, apparently more successful, anti ISIL campaign and middle east policies, significantly increases pressure on them and their allies to change. It signals a readiness to engage and establishes the necessary justification for future action. It also puts the congress on record.

Look, this is very simple: If the president doesn’t need anyone’s permission to do something, then he doesn’t need anyone’s permission to make an agreement to do it. If he can do something without an agreement then he can do it with one.

Take a clear example: The constitution explicitly gives the president the plenary power to recognize or derecognize foreign governments. So when Richard Nixon decided to recognize the People’s Republic of China he didn’t need to consult anyone. Even if 2/3 of both houses had passed a bill forbidding it, they’d have needed 38 state legislatures to agree with them or Nixon could ignore it. Therefore it follows that he also had the power to make an agreement with the PRC to recognize it, in return for certain concessions, and he did not need anyone’s consent for it.

0bama’s Iran deal was the same, except that his power to keep his end by suspending the sanctions came not from the constitution but from a statute, so 2/3 of each house could take it away.